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Thomas Paul Murphy

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dakota the Great Horned Owl 03 04 2012

 “DAKOTA” the Great Horned Owl
Today I attended a lecture presented at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha.  The main speaker was Leslie Kiehl and much of what follows is her directly conveyed knowledge- direct quotation paraphrased, condensed and re-paragraphed with great respect for the speaker and the spirit of the truth conveyed.  In other words I did not have my tape recorder going….

Dakota is the kidnapped Great Horned Owl that was brought home on December 7th.  One of Leslie’s helpers at the center told of how…He had lost 30 percent of his body weight.  His body was eating away his muscle.  Dakota was dehydrated and his body was shutting down.  He had maybe 2 to 3 days left to live in the wild.  Kidneys and liver start to fail in situations like this.  Dakota was put on antibiotics because of the high risk of infection.  Dakota was also given a fecal test for parasites.  Dakota was also given fluids twice a day for 14 days.  It was brought in to WINC on 12-07-2012 and by 12-23-2011 was starting to look better.  By January 6th, one month after being returned, Dakota had reached normal body weight.  He was moved outside after 30 days.

With Dakota on a tether and perched on a leather glove in her left hand Leslie told of Dakota…All birds are protected by the Federal Government.  Dakota thinks he’s human.  He is nocturnal and comes out at dusk.  Great horned owls hunt by sound.  Dakota’s hearing is 100 times ours.  Dakota can hear a mouse moving from 100 yards away.  They can also hear rodents under 7 inches of snow.  The Great Horned Owl has its ears in a facial disk.  They are indeed set asymmetrical on its face.  The reason nature has made the ears this way is because it is easier for the owl to triangulate the position of something when there is a difference in depth i.e. one ear higher than the other.  The Great Horned Owls eyes stationary in its head.  So whatever direction the owls head is pointed at is what it is looking at.  Dakota can turn its head 270 degrees.  Great Horned Owls can be identified by the tufts of feathers above the “ears” and its white beard.  It can exert 500 pounds of pressure and break a finger right away.

 (I the author of this article like to put that into an everyday type of perspective. That is the equivalent of an Olympic sized barbell with ten large plates (45 lbs each) on it- placed on your finger; that is strong!) 

They like to eat small rodents and snakes.  They are the only predator of Skunks! The Great Horned Owls are the stealth bombers of the Raptor world- their feathers are designed to fly silently.

Dakota is 11 years old.  In the wild the Great Horned Owl lives to be 7-10 years old but have the capability to live into their 30’s.  The reason why they do not live to their potential can be thought to be that our environment has been destroyed in subtle and not so subtle ways.

Leslie concluded the lecture by making an insightful comment regarding human nature as it relates to wildlife longevity, “What we do not know we fear.  What we fear we destroy.”

Here is where the tail of the Zealot started to win over the direction of the article with a negative presence.  I the author of this article hear something like that and my owl ears go up.  I cannot help but develop this statement of logic a little further as I can see many pieces that fit the puzzle. I believe it makes a good commentary about, “know thyself” and will expound on it a little further with a logic array.  A logic array is a series of statements or premises that flow from one to the next in coherent manner, whereby one leads to the next.  I will start with one conclusion and work backwards to arrive at another conclusion.

1. We have not known our environment.  2. This leads to the question, “Why have we not known our environment?  3.  Is it because capitalism has sold us on something else?  4. What has capitalism sold us on?   5. (Five follows directly from one.) We have been led to not believe in, support, respect and enjoy our natural world.  6. Our environment has become subordinate to what have been told to believe is “necessitated” by business.  7. Our environment is what supports us and not business.  8.  When we destroy our environment we destroy ourselves.  9. The conclusion could be said to be, “Because we have feared ourselves we destroy ourselves?”  10. Great Horned Owls could live 30 years in a natural world with a clean environment but they live on average of 10 to 11 years.  What is even more prophetic is none of this seems to convince a naysayer of anything!  These types of problems are responded to by the naysayer in what is the naysayers traditional way to handle problems, “that it does not understand,”… are you ready for the naysayers solution to things it does not understand and therefore fears?...The naysayers response can be analyzed and reduced to its basic element; the basic elements of a naysayer’s response is pure SCOFF!   11. What is it the naysayers fear?

Those who respect and understand nature learn from it and understand it.  We learn to think like the Great Horned Owl who can hear a small mammal in the grass from 100 yards away.  We respect nature and we then see the nature of the naysayer; just like the Great Horned Owl can see the naysayer by hearing it.  We hear the lies of the naysayers like the Great Horned Owl hears it prey.  We realize our lives are lessened by neglect and insult to our environment.  The insults are cumulative and it is a rarity that one can readily point to the pollution because it is mircroscopic.   It is microscopic because it is made from manmade molecules and chemicals that were designed with microscopes.  The insults are very small and yet very potent in their toxicity.  But the naysayer quickly points to those who refute him and quickly terms them weak.  The naysayer will go to great lengths to say that what we term is the cause of something can indeed be attributed to something else.  The naysayer will even then find a way to blame those who refute him.  The true nature of the naysayer is that it does not have the capacity to understand anything that it does not agree with.  And the naysayer is scoff to agree with, listen or understand anything that it does not already believe.  I would go on for pages more but the naysayer would say I am a hooting owl.  Often the best type of evidence to prove something is called empirical evidence.  Does its origin come from an aftermath statement like this, “The Empire failed and you were in power so it was indeed your fault?”  Empirical evidence is indeed an adult looking at something with a developed perspective of common sense and saying, “I know for a fact that is the problem!” or “I know for a fact that is the cause,” or “There can be no other cause,” or “How stupid can a person be and why?”   I can hear what the naysayer’s response to this would be.  He would read the previous empirical evidence statements and falsely apply them as if he is a person of knowledge.  And his concluding statement will be one of misdirection or scoff!

As I watched Dakota I realized that it was using its brows to shield its pupils from the overhead lights.  I do the same thing when I wear a baseball bill type cap to take outdoor pictures.  I also rarely watch television for a different but similar reason; the naysayer has given me a label and scoffed when I have refuted it.

Wildlife In Need Center (WINC) rehabilitates wild animals that have become injured or sick.  Dakota will be at the Wildlife in Need Center beginning Sunday’s March 4th thru Saturday March 10th from 1:00- 3:00 pm each day.  There web address is

John Rodell is President of the Wildlife In Need Center (WINC). ~Saturday November 12th Dakota was abducted by two young men.  He escaped from them and lived 25 days in the wild.

WINC has a new center to rehabilitate wild animals at.  It is called the Gercheud Sherman Field Station (Check spelling) and is a 100 acre site with UW Waukesha.  The field station is a 6000 square foot new building.  The station provides skilled care for 365 days a year and handles on average 30 calls a day 7 days a week.  The phone number listed on the internet is 262-965-3090. WINC relies on the support of donors.  Children of age 12 or older can come to the center and feed the baby birds.  Other animals featured at today’s lecture were; a Fox Snake, a Woodchuck, a Kestrel Sparrow and a Water Turtle and a Box Turtle.

Click "here" to purchase your authentic t-shirt or image of Dakota the Great Horned Owl

Thomas Paul Murphy

Copyright 2012 Thomas Paul Murphy

Originally published on 03 03 2012 at:

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